THEY will compete in different divisions, but Greg Laws and Bennett Powell will be side by side when Ironman Australia rolls into town on May 5.
Laws will compete in his 13th Ironman event, but it will double as his first in Port Macquarie after accepting the role of being Powell's carer on the day.
While 27-year-old Powell has cerebral palsy he hasn't let it stop him from lining up in his third full-distance race.
"I do it for a challenge; seeing other people out there doing it I think I might as well have a crack," he said.
"Greg's role is very important to me, making sure I eat and drink at the right times to make sure I don't get dehydrated and make sure I get through the race."
Athletes regularly speak of the role volunteers play out on the course and how it drives them towards the finish line.
Powell is no different.
"I keep coming back because I love the atmosphere," he said.
"(It's when you hear) the volunteers cheering you on it gets you over the finish line."
Laws has been on the local organising committee "since day dot", so it seems fitting his first Ironman in Port Macquarie - and 13th overall - will be his last.
"I've already put up the red flag and said this is the retirement one," he said.
"Any race I've been in has been in Cairns, Busselton or overseas so it's good to hang up the boots on home turf."
His first experience on race day was on the other side of the fence at Forster in 1994 and 12 months later he was at the starting line.
"It's in your blood and once you start doing this stuff there's always a new challenge," he said.
It's in your blood and once you start doing this stuff there's always a new challenge.- Greg Laws
The duo haven't set any race time goals although Powell completed last year's event in 13 and a half hours.
This year it is more about having fun while they were out on the course.
"We'll be having a good time on the day, working with each other and talking to each other all the way along," Laws said.
"Basically I'm a carer for Bennett, just making sure we are eating and drinking well along the way and any stops we need to do along the way for food we'll be stopping."
Laws will compete in the 65-59 years age group and felt his younger comrade would push him all the way.
"I think right at the end I'll be tagging him to the finish line," he said.
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